Rising fears over Darling Downs phone tower


Darling Downs residents Graeme Farrell, Russell Twining, Alan Andrews and Karen Treble are concerned about plans to erect a |40-metre telecommunications tower near their properties.
Darling Downs residents Graeme Farrell, Russell Twining, Alan Andrews and Karen Treble are concerned about plans to erect a |40-metre telecommunications tower near their properties.

DARLING Downs residents have objected to plans for a 40-metre telecommunications tower near their homes on Hopkinson Road.

The residents last week forwarded more than 15 submissions to the City of Armadale, protesting the planned location of the Vodafone mobile base station with six panel antennas and a radio communications dish within 200 metres of houses.

They are concerned about visual pollution with the tower protruding over trees, potential health effects and the impact on local real estate prices.

Karen Treble said there was already a tower on the southern boundary of the tip and suggested the new tower also be located at the same location away from local residents.

“Our area may be semi-rural but we live here to see trees in the space between our homes. Our pretty peaceful setting will be changed forever,” Ms Treble said.

Darling Range MLA Tony Simpson has also raised his concerns about the proposal, saying the tower would be a “visual eyesore” and may have health implications for those living and working close by.

He called for the tower to be located next to the Telstra tower on the other side of the tip near Tonkin Highway.

Russell Twining said his home was about 175m from the proposed location and was concerned about the impact of radio frequencies on humans.

“There has not been sufficient time for long-term studies of the effects of such transmissions,” Mr Twining said.

“It is conceivable that either current safety margins of operation prove to be inadequate or yet unknown health consequences arise over the longer timeframe.”

An application for planning approval on behalf of Vodafone said “detailed investigations of the locality revealed no opportunities to co-locate telecommunications infrastructure, or utilise existing buildings, which would satisfy the coverage objectives for the facility”.

“The proposed telecommunications infrastructure will facilitate Vodafone’s high-speed mobile telephone network, which will see customers enjoying improved high quality content, wireless broadband access and further mobilisation of business applications,” it said.

“In selecting network base station sites, Vodafone endeavours to utilise existing mobile network sites as extensively as possible, or share other forms of existing infrastructure to build the network.”

It said the site selection process had been influenced by the objective of “avoiding community sensitive locations”.

A City of Armadale spokesman said the council had given approval for the planning stage of the development to proceed but approval for construction would depend on residents’ reactions.